O’Sulloc Green Tea Milk Spread

_MG_0094-2

While traveling in Seoul, one of the places I wanted to visit was O’Sulloc (오설록), a café that specializes in all things tea, particularly Jeju Island green tea. If you ever plan to travel to South Korea, I definitely recommend going to an O’Sulloc branch and trying out their green tea latte. Utterly divine.

_MG_0098
Look at that hot serif in all caps… just kidding. But that logo…

Anyway, while I was shopping around Insa-dong (인사동), I came across an O’Sulloc branch. I wandered inside, and a small glass jar filled with some green substance caught the corner of my eye. I walked over, grabbed the jar, and read the serif font that splayed across the label: Green Tea Milk Spread. Wait, did my eyes deceive me? Green Tea? Milk? WHAT?! Would it taste like matcha milk tea?

_MG_0102
Don’t let the green gross you out

I contemplated for several days before saying “F it, YOLO,” and bought the 8000won jar. When I came home, I was so excited to try it. I immediately broke the seal, and an intense green tea aroma greeted my nostrils and made my mouth water. The spread is thick and smooth. I greedily sampled it, and my smile disappeared. It was like eating frosting. I enjoyed the subtle taste of green tea, but that was all it offered. There was no explosion of green tea flavor. The sweetness, probably from the amount of sugar added, overpowered the bitterness of green tea.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it makes whole wheat bread—utterly dry and bland—taste great. Add slices of banana on top of the spread, and you got yourself breakfast. Though, for me, I can only handle eating it once a week. Hopefully I can figure out what to do to find the perfect balance of sweetness. If you have any suggestions, let me know!

If you love sweet things and green tea flavored goodies, then maybe O’Sulloc Green Tea Milk Spread should be your go-to spread on bread 🙂

_MG_0097

Indian Garden

My friends and I ventured out to Indian Garden in Pleasanton. The restaurant was very quaint, and the staff was very attentive.

20160313_130600-2
Paneer Tikka Masala ($12.99) and Plain Naan ($1.99)

I ordered Paneer Tikka Masala and Plain Naan. I asked for medium spiciness, which to my surprise, wasn’t too spicy. I take it as a sign my mouth can finally handle spicy food! Success!

Anyway, the Paneer Tikka Masala is rich in flavor and the spices did not assault my palate. I liked the paneer’s texture because it was firm like a fried tofu. I’ve had some experiences with crumbly paneer, and I wasn’t too fond of that texture. The naan is incredibly moist and it complemented the sauce. I think there was some oil drizzled on it to add flavor, but I’m not sure what kind of oil they used. I was tempted to order another batch to-go and munch on it without anything.

I want to go back and try a different spiciness level and samosas. I definitely recommend going if you ever in the area and craving some Indian food.

Dreaming Cow Yogurt

Honey Pear & Vanilla Agave
Honey Pear & Vanilla Agave
Maple Ginger & Dark Cherry Chai
Maple Ginger & Dark Cherry Chai

I can never refuse cute packaging; I literally gravitate towards it. Although Dreaming Cow yogurt’s consistency is runny, I didn’t think it ruins the taste. I bought them at a local Safeway, which only carries four flavors. I recommend trying three of the four flavors (see below). Visit dreaming cow website for more info 🙂 I hope they sell the other flavors soon!

Honey Pear: Subtle pear flavor that is overpowered by honey flavor. Honey balances out the tartness of yogurt.

Vanilla Agave: The flavor is neither bland nor too tarty. If you want to try something safe and nothing too exotic, I recommend trying this flavor.

Maple Ginger: I wish I could add more maple syrup, but I didn’t have any at home. I wish I could finish it like the others, but I couldn’t. I was never fond ginger, and I was expecting the yogurt to have more of a maple taste with literally a day of ginger. Nope. If you’re a fan of ginger, then this flavor is for you. Otherwise, stay far away from it.

Dark Cherry Chai: Hints of spice complements cherry flavor. It doesn’t taste like the cherry flavor you find in medicine either.

Doppio Zero Pizzeria Napoletana

Doppio Zero Pizzeria is located at the edge of Mountain View’s Castro Street. My Italian friend recommended this place for dinner as it’s as close to authentic Italian pizza as one can get in this area. We arrived around 5:30pm and immediately there were a lot of people eating outside. That, I felt, was a good sign that Doppio Zero is legit.

Patatina ($17)
Patatina ($17)

There are so many tempting choices, but I ordered the Patatina because it has french fries as one of its toppings. I felt so fat and unhealthy when our server placed the pizza in front of me, but I could not deny the utter harmony of flavors when I took a bite of the first slice. The fries have a crispy exterior with a fluffy interior. The mozzarella and sauce balances out the saltiness of the sausage. The thin crust has a decent coating of olive oil underneath and it’s neither too chewy or too crispy. I recommend eating the pizza with fork and knife because the crust is very thin.

Panna Cotta ($7)
Panna Cotta ($7)

For dessert, I ordered the Panna Cotta since my Italian friend said that it’s one of the more authentic desserts on the menu. It’s incredibly creamy and not too sweet. I could not taste the berry flavor unless I scooped a bit of panna cotta with the berry sauce. The strawberries are absolutely sweet and delicious.

Watch me gain 20 pounds because I’m definitely planning to return to Doppio Zero and eat everything on the menu.

Boiling Point

such hipster wall
such hipster wall

What does the family do whenever the coolest person that is my brother comes home to visit? Experience a restaurant, of course!

Boiling Point, located in Fremont, is a Taiwanese hot pot restaurant. Upon entering Boiling Point, you are welcomed with an absolutely wonderful aroma that is reminiscent of the streets of Taiwan. By wonderful, I mean absolutely pungent smell that is stinky tofu (aka fermented tofu). The wait to eat at Boiling Point ranges from 30 minutes to 2 hours, according to friends and Yelp, but fortunately, we were immediately ushered to our seats.

We ordered a plate of stinky tofu, and each of us ordered a hot soup.

Stinky Tofu
Stinky Tofu

Eating stinky tofu was an interesting experience. The first bite was like eating a typical fried tofu, and then a strong fermented aftertaste knocks the wind out of you. Thankfully the sauce masked the aroma and fermented taste, so by the last tofu on the plate, it was palatable. Apparently this stinky tofu pales in comparison to the ones sold in Taiwanese night markets.

Unfortunately for all those who are allergic to seafood, your choices of hot soup are limited to two out of ten. If you’re like me who is also allergic to nuts, your choice is one: Tomato Veggie Hot Soup, which is still delicious nonetheless. I think the hot pot is large enough for two people, and I would recommend buying just one to share so you have some space for dessert. Honestly, my family was struggling trying to finish our own individual hot pots.

Tomato Veggie Hot Soup
Tomato Veggie Hot Soup

As the name suggests, Tomato Veggie Hot Soup has a decent amount of vegetables. I was pleasantly surprised when I found a large stash of meat hidden under all the veggies. I knew there was pork since the menu lists all the ingredients in the hot pot, but I did not expect a generous amount. I definitely recommend adding some of their sauce to make the hot pot tastier. They even serve a bowl of rice with the hot soup. We couldn’t exchange rice for vermicelli noodles because it was soft opening, but the rice with the hot soup was still good.

I definitely recommend going if you want to try (almost) authentic Taiwanese hot pot. I would definitely go back for the sauce; it’s that darn delicious!

Sushirrito

Mayan Dragon ($9.00 USD)
Mayan Dragon ($9.00 USD)

A couple weeks ago I had lunch at Sushirrito in Palo Alto. This Bay Area exclusive restaurant fuses the ingredients of a sushi and the shape of a burrito, hence the name Sushirrito.

However, I’m allergic to seafood, so the choices are limited. Also, my friend noticed that the workers don’t change their gloves when handling one sushirrito from another. So if you’re deathly allergic to seafood then stay away like it’s a plague (of course, I’m assuming if you are deathly allergic you wouldn’t even be eating at any sushi restaurant, authentic or fusion).

Anyway, one of the non-seafood choices that stood out is the Mayan Dragon, which I solely chose because it contains potatoes. POH-TAY-TOE. Boil ’em. Mash ’em. Stick ’em in a stew… or in this case, in a sushiritto. The overall taste is delicious and spicy. The curry and chicken katsu complement each other. The vegetables taste fresh and you can taste each grain of rice.

Sushiritto has several branches in SF and one in Palo Alto. Learn more about Sushirrito at its website.

Matcha Mochi Ice Cream Madness

Mikawaya (left) and Maeda-en (right) green tea ice cream mochi packaging
Mikawaya (left) and Maeda-en (right) green tea ice cream mochi packaging

What is mochi?
For those who do not know, mochi is a glutinous rice cake that has been pounded into a paste and molded to a shape. The texture is sticky, sometimes gooey, and chewy. It’s often used to create confectionery such as daifuku (mochi commonly stuffed with red bean paste). You can read more about mochi here.

I still remember the day when Costco started selling ice cream mochi. A mob of people surrounded the food sample booth, trying to snag a sample before it ran out. After tasting the delicious morsel, my family immediately bought a vanilla flavored pack. I still stand by the belief that the chewy, sticky goodness of mochi encasing a chunk of ice cream is revolutionary.

A lot of American supermarkets sell ice cream mochi ranging from vanilla to green tea (matcha). Unlike American supermarkets, Japanese supermarkets, at least the ones that are around the area I live, sell two brands of ice cream mochi: Mikawaya and Maeda-en. Serendipitously both brands of ice cream mochi were on sale one week; my mom bought Mikawaya’s green tea ice cream mochi at Safeway and I bought Maeda-en’s green tea ice cream mochi at Marukai.

Mikawaya

  • comes with 6 ice cream mochi
  • mochi has stiff consistency which holds the form better, and immediately becomes chewy in the mouth
  • green tea flavor is very subtle, it’s practically nonexistent; taste has a bit of mint and other weird leafy flavors (I can’t really describe the exact taste but it’s not as pleasant as Maeda-en’s green tea ice cream)

Maeda-en

  • comes with 6 ice cream mochi
  • mochi has sticky consistency which makes everything fall apart after taking a bite into it
  • green tea flavor has the perfect balance of matcha which is no surprise because their green tea ice cream is the best thing ever
  • comparing the price at Marukai, Maeda-en is cheaper than Mikawaya; this could vary among location and stores

Ideally if you combine Mikawaya’s mochi with Maeda-en’s green tea ice cream, I would be like

I hope this doesn’t deter you from trying Mikawaya’s matcha mochi ice cream; the taste might be more suitable for you than Maeda-en’s. Both brands offer an array of flavors, so if matcha isn’t your thing, then you can try chocolate, mango, or even plum wine. Trust me, you can never go back to ice cream sandwiches once you tried an ice cream mochi… maybe you might, but do definitely try ice cream mochi once in your life.

La Fondue

My brother was visiting town for Memorial Day weekend, and our family decided to head to La Fondue to have a late Mother’s Day dinner. We had a three-course meal: cheese fondue and salad for appetizers, Le Freak which is a taste of all the meat/seafood they offer (i.e. 2–3 pieces) for the main course, and chocolate fondue for dessert.

4 Cheese
4 Cheese

We chose Four Cheese—which consists of Ementhaler, Gruyere, Fontina Surchoix, and Champagne—and Spinach salad. As the name suggests, the fondue is absolutely cheesy. I think if it had less cheese, it might have been perfect for my palate.

Spinach salad
Spinach salad

The Spinach salad contains an assortment of chopped and sliced vegetables with feta cheese. It’s delicious with or without dressing. Lemon Tarragon complements the salad well in my opinion.

grilling meat meat meat
grilling meat meat meat

The meat/seafood could be cooked in a variety of methods. We went for the lobster bisque and grill. The Lobster Bisque is an extra $20, but it looks tasty judging from my mom sneaking spoonfuls of the soup. I lost count how many times she did that because I was too busy staring at the meat cooking on the grill.

Le Freak offers a lot of exotic meat/seafood. I can finally say I tried kangaroo, alligator, elk, venison, and antelope, which to me, all tasted like steak. I guess that is because I overcooked all the meat. It’s quite difficult to tell if the meat is done in the restaurant’s dim lighting.

With the meat comes six different sauces: teriyaki, BBQ, mango chutney, teriyaki with a hint of wasabi, garlic butter, and sour cream with chopped chives. We used a lot of garlic butter to grease the grill and it gave the meat a wonderful flavor. My go-to sauces are mango chutney and BBQ.

The Decadent One
The Decadent One

We chose The Decadent One for our chocolate fondue, which is Milk & Dark Chocolates,
Espresso, Kahlua, and Creme. I think the subtle bitter taste of kahlua and espresso balances out the sweetness of the chocolates. This fondue goes well with the cream puff, fruit, marshmallows, and cinnamon covered cheesecake balls.

Overall it was a wonderful experience and I’m eternally grateful for Groupon because without it, this meal would have cost $300. The cost is quite high, but I still recommend going to La Fondue if a groupon offer arises, or if you want to share a romantic experience with your companion/significant other/partner (who can say no to chocolate fondue?!).

Mini Bunte Vielfalt

_MG_9787
A family friend gave us a small pack of Bunte Vielfalt. Obviously I went bug-eyed because I rarely get a chance to taste European chocolate. We don’t even get Kinder eggs here!! Anyway, this pack had some interesting flavors such as cornflake and yogurt. I didn’t realize how many pieces are nut-flavored. Nevertheless, in the name of wanting to share my experience of eating foreign chocolate, I ignored my allergies of nuts to taste these delicious German morsels.

Read More »

Vita 500 (비타 500)

the case and bottle
the case and bottle

My friend who lives in Korea came back to visit over the winter break, and she gave me a box of Vita 500, which is a popular South Korean vitamin drink. The box contains 10 small, brown, glass bottles. She told me the name comes from the 500% of Vitamin C contained in the drink; Vita 500 also contains 86% of Vitamin B₁₂. I never had any American energy drinks, so I am not sure if Vita 500 is just as sweet as or sweeter than energy drinks, but Vita 500 does have a strong sugary (with a twinge of sour) taste. I think it is quite addicting to drink, but because of the sweetness I am hesitant to chug five bottles in one go since I feel like I may be ingesting 3 billions grams of sugar. Overall, it is an interesting experience and I am a sucker for the packaging. I can’t help but like tiny bottles.